Guide Dogs Tasmania and VisAbility
Exciting news for Tasmanians who are living with vision impairment or blindness.
A Special General Meeting of Guide Dogs Tasmania has voted to merge with VisAbility, formerly the Association for the Blind of Western Australia.
Guide Dogs Tasmania President Sue Shoobridge said the merger would deliver cost savings for the organisation through the centralisation of back office and administrative tasks.
“But most importantly, the partnership will allow for the delivery of a greater range and level of service for people who are blind or vision impaired living in Tasmania,” she said.
Mrs Shoobridge said the Board had recommended the merger because of sector reforms that would have made it difficult to deliver an appropriate level and range of services for Tasmanians in the future.
“While we have increased the quality and level of service in recent years, and have improved the organisation’s financial health, following the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Board took the view that it would be difficult for us to deliver services without assistance going forward,” she said.
“VisAbility was identified by the Board as an appropriate partner after a detailed and robust due diligence process.”
Mrs Shoobridge said under the new arrangements approved by the Special General Meeting, Guide Dogs Tasmania members could become members of VisAbility.
“Two directors of Guide Dogs Tasmania will be appointed to the VisAbility Board to maintain an important Tasmanian perspective,” she said.
“The Guide Dogs Tasmania brand will also continue to operate in Tasmania.
“All existing services provided by Guide Dogs Tasmania will continue.
“There will still be a need for Guide Dogs Tasmania to fundraise in Tasmania, as there is still a need to train Guide Dogs here for Tasmanians. We cannot do that without community support.
“Counselling services, orthoptics and occupational therapy for adults and children will commence within the next 12 months and will increase further over the next five years.
“None of these services are currently being provided by Guide Dogs Tasmania.”
The Special General Meeting on Friday 24 June was required to allow Guide Dogs Tasmania to amend its constitution to enter into a partnership with VisAbility.